- Cullman, Alabama

July 14, 2013

Tourism focus vital to future of Cullman area

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — The arrival of a tourism director in Cullman signals the area’s commitment to building a stronger business environment.

With unemployment in Cullman County continuing to decline, the business outlook is becoming stronger for the community. Hiring a professional to manage the marketing and promotion of the area is a step that  new Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce president Leah Bolin and the board committed to do.

Georgia native Cecelia Smith was hired this past week. Most recently she was living in Decatur and grown familiar with the attractions of north Alabama. More importantly, Smith brings to the table experience as an events director for the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce in Tuscon, Ariz. She also worked in marketing at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Plenty of events are growing up in Cullman County. The success of Rock the South, a reinvigorated Oktoberfest, the Bloomin’ Fest, and others are poised for even greater things.

Nevertheless, the ever-present attractions of Cullman County are key to establishing a strong trade in tourism. The excellent parks and recreation facilities and programs of the city and county are gems for attracting visitors regularly to the area, as well as bringing new residents here. The schools are performing well above average and mean a lot to the quality of life. The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame is one the way.

The business community is diverse, from the unique shops in downtown Cullman and other towns and cities in the area, to the growing number of national retail outlets, there is plenty to keep a family business throughout an given day. The rich farming scene and German heritage of the area also need greater promotion. A growing need for more entertainment is also high on the agenda.

The key to a successful tourism program is not changing the charm and character of the community. While arts and entertainment need to become more frequent, the very character of Cullman County is a great selling point.

The market for day trips alone is lucrative in the north Alabama region. The history, culture and beauty of the area are among the best the southern region of the state.

Bringing a fulltime tourism director on board at the chamber is an important development for the area. The coming months and years should be exciting as the tourism focus takes hold.